Not for Profit Why Democracy Needs the Humanities eBook

Not for Profit Why Democracy Needs the Humanities eBook


  • Hardcover
  • 158 pages
  • Not for Profit Why Democracy Needs the Humanities
  • Martha C. Nussbaum
  • English
  • 10 March 2015
  • 9780691140643

10 thoughts on “Not for Profit Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

  1. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Indian parents take pride in a child who gains admission to the Institutes of Technology and Management; they are ashamed of a child who studies literature or philosophy or who wants to paint or dance or sing Nussbaum wants to change this situation with this manifesto with this call to action With the very poignantly titled Not for Profit Nussbaum alerts us to a “silent crisis” in which nations “discard skills” as they “thirst for national profit” a world wide crisis in education She focuses on two major educational systems to illustrate this one in the grips of the crisis and in its death row The other carelessly hurtling towards it undoing much of the good done before and worse the USA is a leader in most fields and rest of the world may well follow where it leadsWhat is this developing crisis? Nussbaum laments that the humanities and the arts are being cut away in both primarysecondary and collegeuniversity education in virtually every nation of the world Seen by policy makers parents and students as nothing but useless frills and at a time when nations must cut away all useless things in order to stay competitive in the global market they are rapidly losing their place in curricula and also in the minds and hearts of parents and children This is most prevalent and inevitable in the placement based institutions especially the IITs and the IIMs and the newspapers that hawk their successes that measure their success purely on the drama of placements and on the excesses of the pay packages This sort of a higher education orientation also changes the early school cultures with parents having no patience for allegedly superfluous skills and intent on getting their children filled with testable skills that seem likely to produce financial success by getting into the IITs and the IIMsNussbaum says that in these IITs and IIMs instructors are most disturbed by their students’ deficient humanities preparation It might be heartening that it is precisely in these institutions at the heart of India’s profit oriented technology culture that instructors have felt the need to introduce liberal arts courses partly to counter the narrowness of their studentsBut it is not really so Even as professors struggle to introduce such courses as students at IIM we have an all encompassing word for anything that comes anywhere close to the humanities “GLOBE” and boy don’t we love using it This throughly derogatory terms sums up the purely career minded profit driven orientation of education in India’s elite institutions I now feel a sense of complete despair at every laugh shared in the use of this expression With the standards of success thus set is it any wonder that the culture is seeping across the education spectrum?After this dispiriting survey of Indian education Nussbaum says that the situation is not as bad yet in the US due to an existing strong humanities culture in the higher institutions but issues the below caveat We in the United States can study our own future in the government schools of India Such will be our future if we continue down the road of “teaching to the test” neglecting the activities that enliven children’s minds and make them see a connection between their school life and their daily life outside of school We should be deeply alarmed that our own schools are rapidly heedlessly moving in the direction of the Indian norm rather than the reverse


  2. AC AC says:

    I'm Reading this because of an assignment It's not the sort of thing or author I'd generally bother withThe book is trite simplistic poorly written poorly argued and that from one who is basically in sympathy with her general position She draws a simple minded distinction between education for growth which is bad; business or technology oriented and education for critical thinking and self development Humanities; though this book like much of the Humanities today in fact exhibits precious little of such allegedly critical thinking she confuses NeoLberalism and NeoMercantilism neither of which term she seems to be familiar with lumping them together as old paradigm and collectivist and claims that the hyperdrive towards economic growth that one sees in India and South Africa and presumably China? will undercut democracy in the Western World non seuitur anyone? this by the way at a time when the West has itself entered what is perhaps terminal economic decline and when the political conseuences of that decline in growth are becoming clearer day by day today for example a threat she seems to be uite unaware ofBasically a rehashing of ideals that were cutting edge in 1917 Tagore Dewey but whose breathless espousal today is something of an embarrassment The intellectual narcissism of the Humanities in America is on full display here Though very bright Nussbaum was a lousy classical scholar who had been feted and coddled by institutions and by her 'mentor' Gwill Owen since early days Her work on Plato was awful not surprising coming from the school she comes from Owen and Vlastos; Aristotle she thinks was basically an 'essentialist' which is incorrect see eg éali her dissertation on the de motu animalium was a fairly strong piece of work as philosophical commentary goes though her knowledge of Greek was always suspect I could go on But people are already angry at me for speaking the truth too loudlyAnyway the book is basically a waste of time BAG IT


  3. Bruce Bruce says:

    In this short book Nussbaum a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago presents both an argument and a call to action with which everyone may not agree but which is carefully reasoned articulately presented and always fascinatingNussbaum argues that we are in the midst of an educational crisis that is massive global and mostly unnoticed Changes are needed and changes are occurring but the changes that are happening currently are ill advised having as their goal national economic profit rather than the furtherance and strengthening of democratic institutions There is a progressive de emphasis on the humanities and arts and an emphasis on technical applications at the expense of creativity and imagination as well as basic research The pursuit of possessions is trumping thought imagination empathy and human relationships “Democracy is built upon respect and concern and these in turn are built upon the ability to see other people as human beings not simply as objectsThese abilities are associated with the humanities and the arts the ability to think critically; the ability to transcend local loyalties and to approach world problems as a “citizen of the world”; and finally the ability to imagine sympathetically the predicament of another person” Instead the primary goal has become economic growth and profitability with an exclusive focus on science and technology Educating for responsible democratic citizenship is not incompatible with economic growth but the current vision is too narrow and exclusiveIn contrasting education for profit and education for democracy Nussbaum argues that the goal of national economic growth is inadeuate as an exclusive national priority asserting that “trickle down” economic theory has been discredited Neither does national economic growth correlate with political liberty and yet this model predominates at present Focusing on this goal alone discourages critical thinking fosters uncritical nationalism and discourages distributive benefits and justice especially in an environment of widening economic disparity The alternative she argues is a Human Development paradigmWe inevitably educate our citizens but currently and increasingly we are educating them for anti moral rather than moral emotions fostering hierarchy over democracy We tend to externalize “evil” projecting it on others whereas we must first deal internally with our anxiety about weakness and vulnerability rooted in basic child development Competence plus cooperation are neededNussbaum asserts that what is needed is a Socratic pedagogy stressing the importance of argument which is central to critical thinking This is not amenable to uantitative measurement or standardized testing A failure of reasoned argument and examination leads to a lack of clarity about goals Critical inuiry is un authoritarian if it avoids competitive winner take all arguing in favor of cooperative argument focusing on best possible outcomes These are the very skills that are being devalued and de emphasized and democracy cannot afford this trendIncreasingly cooperation is a global imperative and inevitability; we must become “citizens of the world” Thus communication and understanding are necessary Nussbaum outlines curriculum reforms to support this cooperation and becomes prescriptive and detailedCultivating the imagination through literature and the arts recognizes the importance of the narrative imagination ie empathy and the development of curiosity including the importance of play at all ages It supports the emphasis on human dignity if materials are selected appropriately and it facilitates the exploration of difference without anxiety It also increases students’ engagement in learningDemocratic education is currently “on the ropes” and is being done poorly Whereas in the US the content of liberal arts departments and programs is improving their funding is being increasingly cut Classes are too large for discussion and interaction and there is too little student writing with good feedback Increasingly cost benefit analysis on an economic growth model is being misapplied as it is to basic scientific research In grades K 12 the humanities and arts are being cut as “frills” andor recast as technical abilities testable by multiple choice examinations Things are worse under the No Child Left Behind Act because critical thinking and sympathetic imagining are not testable with multiple choice tests that emphasize rote learning Good alternatives exist but are being ignored The difficulties being faced involve both content and pedagogy She has bitter critiues aimed at both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan the former of whom says the right words but ignores doing anything about the problem and the latter of whom moved in the wrong direction when he was in charge of Chicago’s school system Nussbaum argues that the very foundation of our freedoms is threatened if we continue down our present path We have been seduced by an exclusive emphasis on the pursuit of wealth at the expense of thoughtful citizens She concludes with the following paragraph“If the real clash of civilizations is as I believe a clash within the individual soul as greed and narcissism contend against respect and love all modern societies are rapidly losing the battle as they feed the forces that lead to violence and dehumanization and fail to feed the forces that lead to cultures of euality and respect If we do not insist on the crucial importance of the humanities and the arts they will drop away because they do not make money They only do what is much precious than that make a world that is worth living in people who are able to see other human beings as full people with thoughts and feelings of their own that deserve respect and empathy and nations that are able to overcome fear and suspicion in favor of sympathetic and reasoned debate”I think a worthwhile book is not necessarily one with which one entirely agrees but rather one that is challenging and thought provoking reuiring a careful reexamination and articulation of one’s own ideas and conclusions This is a book that if allowed to do so accomplishes that with skill and thoughtfulness


  4. Charlie Charlie says:

    Nussbaum challenges the current push in education to make everything we learn submissive to a specific career This view sees education as a benefit to our economy largely to those who profit from the labor of others Nussbaum reminds us that education is a public good — it benefits the learner the teacher and the communities we live in The Humanities teach us not just valuable skills like problem solving and critical thinking that we need in our jobs but empathy and compassion that we need to live in a functioning democracy She draws from various approaches inside and outside the US to provide a broad context Yet reading this during the 2016 presidential election shows us exactly what is at stake when we fail to have compassion for others Not only the ignorant and hateful speech of the Republican candidate but the failings of the DNC to understand the validity of different perspectives within their own party Our democracy is a mess this books helps us understand why More importantly it is a manifesto calling for a change in how we think about education Nussbaum makes it clear that we need to recognize the power of narratives play art and cultural exploration


  5. Jeffrey Jeffrey says:

    Nussbaum calls her book 'a manifesto' Her manifesto on why democracy needs the humanities is made up of 6 interlocking propositions 1 there is a crisis going on in education today; 2 this crisis is the shedding away of the humanities which produce the necessary espirit de corps and competencies for an active and productive democracy; 3 this shedding away of the humanities can be attributed to the growth oriented economy which prefers professional skill ism rather than the critical thinking skills and the imaginative empathy cultivated by the humanities; 4 at the same time events in the world today are heading in the direction where international cooperation and collaboration is needed which must surely demand critical thinking and imaginative empathy for cross cultural work; 5 however we are heading in the opposite direction through our present attention on standardized testing and technically oriented education directives which produce useful machines pp 2 but not imaginative and empathetic human beings; 6 hence not only do we ultimately undermine our own cherished democracy but ultimately too we undermine the solidarity needed for a universal democracy that can solve universal problems affecting all To be fair we will have to take Nussbaum's argument one step deeper that societies and hence to a certain extent also publicly funded universities in many places prefer practical skill ism rather than the humanities Since the growth oriented economy reuires skillful workers who can obey and work rather than to uestion and think classes oriented to imparting practical or applied skills are much favored by policy makers bosses parents and students alike because everyone in this suarish ecology seemed well pleased However even growth demands people who possess the abilities to think and imagine creatively and the humanities can help to cultivate that Therefore it is according to Nussbaum never an 'eitheror' for or against the humanities; rather we can have both growth and the humanities As a matter of her opinion to have growth we ought to invest and grow the humanities I leave you to ponder on Nussbaum's surprising acuiescence But the strangeness of this acuiescence to incorporate the humanities into the growth oriented economy is surely and only because of Nussbaum's paradoxical nullification of the very thing she sought to defend in this book how is it possible to defend the humanities by deliberately subjecting and designing the humanities so that it can support growth ie economically oriented growth laced with many externalities? Thankfully Nussbaum's did not say how beyond these hints and to what extent this can be done But at least one thing is clear the kind of growth Nussbaum criticizes is also the kind of growth that bears no special allegiance to anything or anyone; as long as something expands the economy in the short term this something is valued Thus to expect growth to value the humanities because the humanities seem to impart valuable fundamental and hence somewhat long term competencies with uncertain outcome is naive at best And half expecting this book to fulfill its large graphical and title promise on the critiue of the for profit system ie NOT FOR PROFIT Nussbaum unfortunately did not venture into the intricacies of the 'FOR PROFIT' teleology working at every level of the society today Instead what Nussbaum presented is a defense for Socratic pedagogy and a fastpaced clip through the ideas of several education progressivists names like Rousseau Dewey and Tagore I don't think Socrates needs to be defended again; and I certainly don't think Rousseau is as innocent as Nussbaum made him to be or Dewey so easily and swiftly understood Rather I think that both Socrates and Rousseau et al the progressivists are misplaced as two whole chapters in a book with a critical and urgent mission For these reasons I am also not convinced In than a few places Nussbaum makes uncritical statements that seem at odds with the overall thesis in her manifesto for example knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior pp81 Well that depends on what kind of ignorance one speaks of Arrogant and inconsiderate ignorance yes of course But humble and considered ignorance isn't that the goal of Socratic teaching and the beginning of knowledge? Similarly but on a broader interpretation Nussbaum's uncritical call for the 'universal citizen' or the cosmopolitan citizen demands a very careful review who and to what extent can be a citizen of the world today and for what purpose or mission? And what are the underlying ethos of such a global citizenship? What are its underlying binding values? Without answering these uestions we can only suspect that what Nussbaum has in mind as the underlying ethos is the ideal form of democracy that she is familiar with This is unlikely to go well with everyone in the world today Not only so Nussbaum's uncritical call is likely to exacerbate her very uest for a productive citizenship of the world In all I think this manifesto is a missed opportunity for a stronger and a convincing call to arms in the humanities today Insofar as Nussbaum's premise is concerned I think it is relevant for the complex crisis the world is facing today what to do at the limits of the market economy and how to deal with the threats of the environment at its limits However Nussbaum's subseuent arguments stray too often from the deeper and much urgent mission that her premises promised


  6. Marcella C Marcella C says:

    How many times can one say the exact same thing but phrased slightly differently? Read this book to find out


  7. Kyle van Oosterum Kyle van Oosterum says:

    I wanted to understand why the democratic values that I pay lip service matter The humanities and the arts are under threat as it feels like it’s always been and the uestion we should be asking is not if we can afford to keep them alive but if we can afford not to Throughout Nussbaum emphasizes the centrality of Socratic pedagogy and imaginative empathy as the essential elements to the ethical concern reuired for a healthy democracy To be honest there’s not much to disagree with in this except for the near blind faith she has in the US liberal arts system and the ineualities that they perpetually sustain


  8. Malcolm Malcolm says:

    I am not entirely sure what to make of this except to note that it is disappointing and that may be because 1 these are debates that I find myself in the middle of as a humanities scholar working in a Science Faculty and 2 Nussbaum did not really go far enough for me There is no doubt this is a political manifesto and there is a real need for lucid compelling and powerful defences of the humanities in the current climate where we are repeatedly told that higher education should be developing critical inuirers but also forcefully told that it is all about employability about making sure our graduates get jobs – and in this context critical inuiry is unlikely to be seen as job training about skills for work The current world of higher education is intended to ensure that we educate for profit in the UK we have seen in recent years an increasingly powerful discourse of students as consumers rather than education for citizenship – to draw on Nussbaum’s distinction This is a cunning sleight of hand that shifts the focus of higher education plays into the neo liberal argument that it is a private good that is that students gain from it individually than society does collectively and therefore students should pay for it directly; this in a context where university fees have risen 300% in the last ten years This is not how it has always been although we do romanticise and nostalgise the recent past and importantly this is not how it should beThe problem for me is not the case she makes in defence of the humanities as a source of sustained critical inuiry and scepticism although she seems to limit herself to a liberal conception of democracy She suggests on pp 25 6 seven crucial aspects of education for democracy where democracy euals the promotion of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”• the ability to think well about political issues affecting the nation to examine reflect argue and debate deferring to neither tradition nor authority;• the ability to recognise fellow citizens as people with eual rights even though they may be different in race religion gender and sexuality to look at them with respect as ends not just tools to be manipulated for one’s own profit;• the ability to have concern for the lives of others to grasp what policies of many types mean for the opportunities and experiences of one’s fellow citizens of many types and for people outside one’s own nation;• the ability to imagine well a variety of complex issues affecting the story of a human life as it unfolds to think about childhood adolescence family relationships illness death and much in a way informed by an understanding of a wide range of human stories not just by aggregate data;• the ability to judge political leaders critically but with an informed and realistic sense of the possibilities available to them;• the ability to think about the good of the nation as a whole not just that of one’s own group;• the ability to see one’s own nation in turn as a part of a complicated world order in which issues of many kinds reuire intelligent transnational deliberation for their resolutionwhich is all well and good but adds up to a depressing and limited list – if this is seen as the things that need to be defended in contemporary US political culture then things are much worse than I expected even on my most cynical days There is little here that amounts to a call for a critical politics of higher education or socially transformative politics that build a freer eual or people centred worldWhat bugs me most though is that her vision of how and where this might occur seems restricted universities in the Ivy LeagueOxbridge model despite her community based India centric activism and that for a manifesto it seems depressingly short of things that can be done – that is it is a manifesto without a plan As a liberal defence of the humanities this is OK as far as it goes – but for politically analyses and manifestos for action albeit from the eastern side of the Atlantic Michael Bailey Des Freeman’s collection The Assault on Universities A Manifesto for Resistance and John Holmwood’sedited A Manifesto for the Pubic University are much rewarding


  9. Maughn Gregory Maughn Gregory says:

    Nussbaum recommends Philosophy for Children as an exemplary program of “Socratic pedagogy” which she argues is a necessary component of education in democratic societies Nussbaum calls attention to a “world wide crisis in education” 2 making national economic growth its primary purpose This crisis involves “radical changes in what democratic societies teach the young” 2 and in particular the de emphasis and even elimination of teaching the humanities and the arts Nussbaum’s own philosophy gives education three aims to prepare people “for democratic citizenship for employment and importantly for meaningful lives” 9 As her title indicates the book’s focus is on the first of these aims and its argument may be summed up in two statements democracy reuires three broad kinds of abilities “the ability to think critically; the ability to transcend local loyalties and to approach world problems as a “citizen of the world”; and the ability to imagine sympathetically the predicaments of another person” 7; and a liberal arts education with emphasis on the arts and humanities is necessary to cultivate these abilities


  10. Wm Wm says:

    The two stars might be a little unfair but I'm going by the It was okay tag and really that's all it was It's uite the pack of platitudes I think it's supposed to be a manifesto but if so I didn't find it all the stirring or interesting and I'm left with no idea what we're really supposed to All the hard uestions get cursory treatment at best Things pick up in the last chapter when we get some actual research and some specific looks at what institutions are doing wrong or right The book needed way of that There's no real unpacking of why not for profit is important nor why democracy truly needs the humanities There's a major oversimplification of the modern preference STEM as well as the need for the technical and a sweeping aside of the major debates the humanities have had over their own value and what they actually can accomplish It's classic liberalism which I do have a soft spot for but of the bland assertion kind Pity that


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Not for Profit Why Democracy Needs the Humanities[PDF] ✑ Not for Profit Why Democracy Needs the Humanities Author Martha C. Nussbaum – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk In this short and powerful book celebrated philosopher Martha Nussbaum makes a passionate case for the importance of the liberal arts at all levels of education Historically the humanities have been c In this short and powerful Profit Why PDF Ì book celebrated philosopher Martha Nussbaum makes a passionate case for the importance of the liberal arts at all levels of education Historically the humanities have been central to education because they have rightly been seen as essential for creating Not for eBook Æ competent democratic citizens But recently Nussbaum argues thinking about the aims of education has gone disturbingly awry both in the United States and abroad Anxiously focused on national economic growth we increasingly treat education as though its primary goal were to teach students to be for Profit Why PDF Å economically productive rather than to think critically and become knowledgeable and empathetic citizens This shortsighted focus on profitable skills has eroded our ability to criticize authority reduced our sympathy with the marginalized and different and damaged our competence to deal with complex global problems And for Profit Why Democracy Needs MOBI :Þ the loss of these basic capacities jeopardizes the health of democracies and the hope of a decent world In response to this dire situation Nussbaum argues that we must resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the gross national product Rather we must work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give students for Profit Why Democracy Needs MOBI :Þ the capacity to be true democratic citizens of their countries and the world Drawing on the stories of troubling and hopeful educational developments from around the world Nussbaum offers a manifesto that should be a rallying cry for anyone who cares about the deepest purposes of education.


About the Author: Martha C. Nussbaum

Professor Nussbaum is the Ernst Profit Why PDF Ì Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago appointed in the Philosophy Department Law School and Divinity School She is an Associate in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department a Member of Not for eBook Æ the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program She is the founder and.


10 thoughts on “Not for Profit Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

  1. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Indian parents take pride in a child who gains admission to the Institutes of Technology and Management; they are ashamed of a child who studies literature or philosophy or who wants to paint or dance or sing Nussbaum wants to change this situation with this manifesto with this call to action With the very poignantly titled Not for Profit Nussbaum alerts us to a “silent crisis” in which nations “discard skills” as they “thirst for national profit” a world wide crisis in education She focuses on two major educational systems to illustrate this one in the grips of the crisis and in its death row The other carelessly hurtling towards it undoing much of the good done before and worse the USA is a leader in most fields and rest of the world may well follow where it leadsWhat is this developing crisis? Nussbaum laments that the humanities and the arts are being cut away in both primarysecondary and collegeuniversity education in virtually every nation of the world Seen by policy makers parents and students as nothing but useless frills and at a time when nations must cut away all useless things in order to stay competitive in the global market they are rapidly losing their place in curricula and also in the minds and hearts of parents and children This is most prevalent and inevitable in the placement based institutions especially the IITs and the IIMs and the newspapers that hawk their successes that measure their success purely on the drama of placements and on the excesses of the pay packages This sort of a higher education orientation also changes the early school cultures with parents having no patience for allegedly superfluous skills and intent on getting their children filled with testable skills that seem likely to produce financial success by getting into the IITs and the IIMsNussbaum says that in these IITs and IIMs instructors are most disturbed by their students’ deficient humanities preparation It might be heartening that it is precisely in these institutions at the heart of India’s profit oriented technology culture that instructors have felt the need to introduce liberal arts courses partly to counter the narrowness of their studentsBut it is not really so Even as professors struggle to introduce such courses as students at IIM we have an all encompassing word for anything that comes anywhere close to the humanities “GLOBE” and boy don’t we love using it This throughly derogatory terms sums up the purely career minded profit driven orientation of education in India’s elite institutions I now feel a sense of complete despair at every laugh shared in the use of this expression With the standards of success thus set is it any wonder that the culture is seeping across the education spectrum?After this dispiriting survey of Indian education Nussbaum says that the situation is not as bad yet in the US due to an existing strong humanities culture in the higher institutions but issues the below caveat We in the United States can study our own future in the government schools of India Such will be our future if we continue down the road of “teaching to the test” neglecting the activities that enliven children’s minds and make them see a connection between their school life and their daily life outside of school We should be deeply alarmed that our own schools are rapidly heedlessly moving in the direction of the Indian norm rather than the reverse

  2. AC AC says:

    I'm Reading this because of an assignment It's not the sort of thing or author I'd generally bother withThe book is trite simplistic poorly written poorly argued and that from one who is basically in sympathy with her general position She draws a simple minded distinction between education for growth which is bad; business or technology oriented and education for critical thinking and self development Humanities; though this book like much of the Humanities today in fact exhibits precious little of such allegedly critical thinking she confuses NeoLberalism and NeoMercantilism neither of which term she seems to be familiar with lumping them together as old paradigm and collectivist and claims that the hyperdrive towards economic growth that one sees in India and South Africa and presumably China? will undercut democracy in the Western World non seuitur anyone? this by the way at a time when the West has itself entered what is perhaps terminal economic decline and when the political conseuences of that decline in growth are becoming clearer day by day today for example a threat she seems to be uite unaware ofBasically a rehashing of ideals that were cutting edge in 1917 Tagore Dewey but whose breathless espousal today is something of an embarrassment The intellectual narcissism of the Humanities in America is on full display here Though very bright Nussbaum was a lousy classical scholar who had been feted and coddled by institutions and by her 'mentor' Gwill Owen since early days Her work on Plato was awful not surprising coming from the school she comes from Owen and Vlastos; Aristotle she thinks was basically an 'essentialist' which is incorrect see eg éali her dissertation on the de motu animalium was a fairly strong piece of work as philosophical commentary goes though her knowledge of Greek was always suspect I could go on But people are already angry at me for speaking the truth too loudlyAnyway the book is basically a waste of time BAG IT

  3. Bruce Bruce says:

    In this short book Nussbaum a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago presents both an argument and a call to action with which everyone may not agree but which is carefully reasoned articulately presented and always fascinatingNussbaum argues that we are in the midst of an educational crisis that is massive global and mostly unnoticed Changes are needed and changes are occurring but the changes that are happening currently are ill advised having as their goal national economic profit rather than the furtherance and strengthening of democratic institutions There is a progressive de emphasis on the humanities and arts and an emphasis on technical applications at the expense of creativity and imagination as well as basic research The pursuit of possessions is trumping thought imagination empathy and human relationships “Democracy is built upon respect and concern and these in turn are built upon the ability to see other people as human beings not simply as objectsThese abilities are associated with the humanities and the arts the ability to think critically; the ability to transcend local loyalties and to approach world problems as a “citizen of the world”; and finally the ability to imagine sympathetically the predicament of another person” Instead the primary goal has become economic growth and profitability with an exclusive focus on science and technology Educating for responsible democratic citizenship is not incompatible with economic growth but the current vision is too narrow and exclusiveIn contrasting education for profit and education for democracy Nussbaum argues that the goal of national economic growth is inadeuate as an exclusive national priority asserting that “trickle down” economic theory has been discredited Neither does national economic growth correlate with political liberty and yet this model predominates at present Focusing on this goal alone discourages critical thinking fosters uncritical nationalism and discourages distributive benefits and justice especially in an environment of widening economic disparity The alternative she argues is a Human Development paradigmWe inevitably educate our citizens but currently and increasingly we are educating them for anti moral rather than moral emotions fostering hierarchy over democracy We tend to externalize “evil” projecting it on others whereas we must first deal internally with our anxiety about weakness and vulnerability rooted in basic child development Competence plus cooperation are neededNussbaum asserts that what is needed is a Socratic pedagogy stressing the importance of argument which is central to critical thinking This is not amenable to uantitative measurement or standardized testing A failure of reasoned argument and examination leads to a lack of clarity about goals Critical inuiry is un authoritarian if it avoids competitive winner take all arguing in favor of cooperative argument focusing on best possible outcomes These are the very skills that are being devalued and de emphasized and democracy cannot afford this trendIncreasingly cooperation is a global imperative and inevitability; we must become “citizens of the world” Thus communication and understanding are necessary Nussbaum outlines curriculum reforms to support this cooperation and becomes prescriptive and detailedCultivating the imagination through literature and the arts recognizes the importance of the narrative imagination ie empathy and the development of curiosity including the importance of play at all ages It supports the emphasis on human dignity if materials are selected appropriately and it facilitates the exploration of difference without anxiety It also increases students’ engagement in learningDemocratic education is currently “on the ropes” and is being done poorly Whereas in the US the content of liberal arts departments and programs is improving their funding is being increasingly cut Classes are too large for discussion and interaction and there is too little student writing with good feedback Increasingly cost benefit analysis on an economic growth model is being misapplied as it is to basic scientific research In grades K 12 the humanities and arts are being cut as “frills” andor recast as technical abilities testable by multiple choice examinations Things are worse under the No Child Left Behind Act because critical thinking and sympathetic imagining are not testable with multiple choice tests that emphasize rote learning Good alternatives exist but are being ignored The difficulties being faced involve both content and pedagogy She has bitter critiues aimed at both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan the former of whom says the right words but ignores doing anything about the problem and the latter of whom moved in the wrong direction when he was in charge of Chicago’s school system Nussbaum argues that the very foundation of our freedoms is threatened if we continue down our present path We have been seduced by an exclusive emphasis on the pursuit of wealth at the expense of thoughtful citizens She concludes with the following paragraph“If the real clash of civilizations is as I believe a clash within the individual soul as greed and narcissism contend against respect and love all modern societies are rapidly losing the battle as they feed the forces that lead to violence and dehumanization and fail to feed the forces that lead to cultures of euality and respect If we do not insist on the crucial importance of the humanities and the arts they will drop away because they do not make money They only do what is much precious than that make a world that is worth living in people who are able to see other human beings as full people with thoughts and feelings of their own that deserve respect and empathy and nations that are able to overcome fear and suspicion in favor of sympathetic and reasoned debate”I think a worthwhile book is not necessarily one with which one entirely agrees but rather one that is challenging and thought provoking reuiring a careful reexamination and articulation of one’s own ideas and conclusions This is a book that if allowed to do so accomplishes that with skill and thoughtfulness

  4. Charlie Charlie says:

    Nussbaum challenges the current push in education to make everything we learn submissive to a specific career This view sees education as a benefit to our economy largely to those who profit from the labor of others Nussbaum reminds us that education is a public good — it benefits the learner the teacher and the communities we live in The Humanities teach us not just valuable skills like problem solving and critical thinking that we need in our jobs but empathy and compassion that we need to live in a functioning democracy She draws from various approaches inside and outside the US to provide a broad context Yet reading this during the 2016 presidential election shows us exactly what is at stake when we fail to have compassion for others Not only the ignorant and hateful speech of the Republican candidate but the failings of the DNC to understand the validity of different perspectives within their own party Our democracy is a mess this books helps us understand why More importantly it is a manifesto calling for a change in how we think about education Nussbaum makes it clear that we need to recognize the power of narratives play art and cultural exploration

  5. Jeffrey Jeffrey says:

    Nussbaum calls her book 'a manifesto' Her manifesto on why democracy needs the humanities is made up of 6 interlocking propositions 1 there is a crisis going on in education today; 2 this crisis is the shedding away of the humanities which produce the necessary espirit de corps and competencies for an active and productive democracy; 3 this shedding away of the humanities can be attributed to the growth oriented economy which prefers professional skill ism rather than the critical thinking skills and the imaginative empathy cultivated by the humanities; 4 at the same time events in the world today are heading in the direction where international cooperation and collaboration is needed which must surely demand critical thinking and imaginative empathy for cross cultural work; 5 however we are heading in the opposite direction through our present attention on standardized testing and technically oriented education directives which produce useful machines pp 2 but not imaginative and empathetic human beings; 6 hence not only do we ultimately undermine our own cherished democracy but ultimately too we undermine the solidarity needed for a universal democracy that can solve universal problems affecting all To be fair we will have to take Nussbaum's argument one step deeper that societies and hence to a certain extent also publicly funded universities in many places prefer practical skill ism rather than the humanities Since the growth oriented economy reuires skillful workers who can obey and work rather than to uestion and think classes oriented to imparting practical or applied skills are much favored by policy makers bosses parents and students alike because everyone in this suarish ecology seemed well pleased However even growth demands people who possess the abilities to think and imagine creatively and the humanities can help to cultivate that Therefore it is according to Nussbaum never an 'eitheror' for or against the humanities; rather we can have both growth and the humanities As a matter of her opinion to have growth we ought to invest and grow the humanities I leave you to ponder on Nussbaum's surprising acuiescence But the strangeness of this acuiescence to incorporate the humanities into the growth oriented economy is surely and only because of Nussbaum's paradoxical nullification of the very thing she sought to defend in this book how is it possible to defend the humanities by deliberately subjecting and designing the humanities so that it can support growth ie economically oriented growth laced with many externalities? Thankfully Nussbaum's did not say how beyond these hints and to what extent this can be done But at least one thing is clear the kind of growth Nussbaum criticizes is also the kind of growth that bears no special allegiance to anything or anyone; as long as something expands the economy in the short term this something is valued Thus to expect growth to value the humanities because the humanities seem to impart valuable fundamental and hence somewhat long term competencies with uncertain outcome is naive at best And half expecting this book to fulfill its large graphical and title promise on the critiue of the for profit system ie NOT FOR PROFIT Nussbaum unfortunately did not venture into the intricacies of the 'FOR PROFIT' teleology working at every level of the society today Instead what Nussbaum presented is a defense for Socratic pedagogy and a fastpaced clip through the ideas of several education progressivists names like Rousseau Dewey and Tagore I don't think Socrates needs to be defended again; and I certainly don't think Rousseau is as innocent as Nussbaum made him to be or Dewey so easily and swiftly understood Rather I think that both Socrates and Rousseau et al the progressivists are misplaced as two whole chapters in a book with a critical and urgent mission For these reasons I am also not convinced In than a few places Nussbaum makes uncritical statements that seem at odds with the overall thesis in her manifesto for example knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior pp81 Well that depends on what kind of ignorance one speaks of Arrogant and inconsiderate ignorance yes of course But humble and considered ignorance isn't that the goal of Socratic teaching and the beginning of knowledge? Similarly but on a broader interpretation Nussbaum's uncritical call for the 'universal citizen' or the cosmopolitan citizen demands a very careful review who and to what extent can be a citizen of the world today and for what purpose or mission? And what are the underlying ethos of such a global citizenship? What are its underlying binding values? Without answering these uestions we can only suspect that what Nussbaum has in mind as the underlying ethos is the ideal form of democracy that she is familiar with This is unlikely to go well with everyone in the world today Not only so Nussbaum's uncritical call is likely to exacerbate her very uest for a productive citizenship of the world In all I think this manifesto is a missed opportunity for a stronger and a convincing call to arms in the humanities today Insofar as Nussbaum's premise is concerned I think it is relevant for the complex crisis the world is facing today what to do at the limits of the market economy and how to deal with the threats of the environment at its limits However Nussbaum's subseuent arguments stray too often from the deeper and much urgent mission that her premises promised

  6. Marcella C Marcella C says:

    How many times can one say the exact same thing but phrased slightly differently? Read this book to find out

  7. Kyle van Oosterum Kyle van Oosterum says:

    I wanted to understand why the democratic values that I pay lip service matter The humanities and the arts are under threat as it feels like it’s always been and the uestion we should be asking is not if we can afford to keep them alive but if we can afford not to Throughout Nussbaum emphasizes the centrality of Socratic pedagogy and imaginative empathy as the essential elements to the ethical concern reuired for a healthy democracy To be honest there’s not much to disagree with in this except for the near blind faith she has in the US liberal arts system and the ineualities that they perpetually sustain

  8. Malcolm Malcolm says:

    I am not entirely sure what to make of this except to note that it is disappointing and that may be because 1 these are debates that I find myself in the middle of as a humanities scholar working in a Science Faculty and 2 Nussbaum did not really go far enough for me There is no doubt this is a political manifesto and there is a real need for lucid compelling and powerful defences of the humanities in the current climate where we are repeatedly told that higher education should be developing critical inuirers but also forcefully told that it is all about employability about making sure our graduates get jobs – and in this context critical inuiry is unlikely to be seen as job training about skills for work The current world of higher education is intended to ensure that we educate for profit in the UK we have seen in recent years an increasingly powerful discourse of students as consumers rather than education for citizenship – to draw on Nussbaum’s distinction This is a cunning sleight of hand that shifts the focus of higher education plays into the neo liberal argument that it is a private good that is that students gain from it individually than society does collectively and therefore students should pay for it directly; this in a context where university fees have risen 300% in the last ten years This is not how it has always been although we do romanticise and nostalgise the recent past and importantly this is not how it should beThe problem for me is not the case she makes in defence of the humanities as a source of sustained critical inuiry and scepticism although she seems to limit herself to a liberal conception of democracy She suggests on pp 25 6 seven crucial aspects of education for democracy where democracy euals the promotion of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”• the ability to think well about political issues affecting the nation to examine reflect argue and debate deferring to neither tradition nor authority;• the ability to recognise fellow citizens as people with eual rights even though they may be different in race religion gender and sexuality to look at them with respect as ends not just tools to be manipulated for one’s own profit;• the ability to have concern for the lives of others to grasp what policies of many types mean for the opportunities and experiences of one’s fellow citizens of many types and for people outside one’s own nation;• the ability to imagine well a variety of complex issues affecting the story of a human life as it unfolds to think about childhood adolescence family relationships illness death and much in a way informed by an understanding of a wide range of human stories not just by aggregate data;• the ability to judge political leaders critically but with an informed and realistic sense of the possibilities available to them;• the ability to think about the good of the nation as a whole not just that of one’s own group;• the ability to see one’s own nation in turn as a part of a complicated world order in which issues of many kinds reuire intelligent transnational deliberation for their resolutionwhich is all well and good but adds up to a depressing and limited list – if this is seen as the things that need to be defended in contemporary US political culture then things are much worse than I expected even on my most cynical days There is little here that amounts to a call for a critical politics of higher education or socially transformative politics that build a freer eual or people centred worldWhat bugs me most though is that her vision of how and where this might occur seems restricted universities in the Ivy LeagueOxbridge model despite her community based India centric activism and that for a manifesto it seems depressingly short of things that can be done – that is it is a manifesto without a plan As a liberal defence of the humanities this is OK as far as it goes – but for politically analyses and manifestos for action albeit from the eastern side of the Atlantic Michael Bailey Des Freeman’s collection The Assault on Universities A Manifesto for Resistance and John Holmwood’sedited A Manifesto for the Pubic University are much rewarding

  9. Maughn Gregory Maughn Gregory says:

    Nussbaum recommends Philosophy for Children as an exemplary program of “Socratic pedagogy” which she argues is a necessary component of education in democratic societies Nussbaum calls attention to a “world wide crisis in education” 2 making national economic growth its primary purpose This crisis involves “radical changes in what democratic societies teach the young” 2 and in particular the de emphasis and even elimination of teaching the humanities and the arts Nussbaum’s own philosophy gives education three aims to prepare people “for democratic citizenship for employment and importantly for meaningful lives” 9 As her title indicates the book’s focus is on the first of these aims and its argument may be summed up in two statements democracy reuires three broad kinds of abilities “the ability to think critically; the ability to transcend local loyalties and to approach world problems as a “citizen of the world”; and the ability to imagine sympathetically the predicaments of another person” 7; and a liberal arts education with emphasis on the arts and humanities is necessary to cultivate these abilities

  10. Wm Wm says:

    The two stars might be a little unfair but I'm going by the It was okay tag and really that's all it was It's uite the pack of platitudes I think it's supposed to be a manifesto but if so I didn't find it all the stirring or interesting and I'm left with no idea what we're really supposed to All the hard uestions get cursory treatment at best Things pick up in the last chapter when we get some actual research and some specific looks at what institutions are doing wrong or right The book needed way of that There's no real unpacking of why not for profit is important nor why democracy truly needs the humanities There's a major oversimplification of the modern preference STEM as well as the need for the technical and a sweeping aside of the major debates the humanities have had over their own value and what they actually can accomplish It's classic liberalism which I do have a soft spot for but of the bland assertion kind Pity that

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